The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) resolved last Monday that it be the High Educational Inspection the one that guarantees that the Generalitat of Catalonia adapts its educational system to the law and teaches 25% of classes in Spanish.
The measure was received with surprise by the Ministry of Educationsince the tools that the High Inspection has are scarce and not very effective: in Catalonia there are only two senior inspectors for more than 5,500 educational centers.
And it is that the High Educational Inspection it is a monitoring body whose control is limited to “verify” and ratify. Its work is basically legal: it reviews decrees and orders issued by the regional education departments to see if they comply with organic laws.
Their inspectors do not go to schools – they do not have the power to do so – and focus on verifying that the autonomous communities comply with the basic regulations on education. How then are you going to control that 25% of the classes in Catalonia are offered in Spanish?
The Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguezassured this Tuesday at the press conference after the Council of Ministers that “the sentences are to be fulfilled”, but did not go into how.
“The pronouncements of the courts must be obeyed and what we will do from the Government will be to act with the High Inspection so that within our competences this jurisprudence and with the indication of the courts are complied with,” he said.
But from the Ministry of Education they point out these manifestations assuring that the High Inspection has very clear limitations and, therefore, they are studying how to attend to the request of the Catalan Supreme Courtalways warning that their inspectors -two- will not enter educational centers.
Therefore, at this time, the Ministry itself does not know how it will respond to the request of Justice. He does not have much time because the Generalitat has 15 days to apply the sentence, and it does not seem that he is going to abide by it.
Wert and the LOMCE
The High Inspection was created by the Royal Decree 480/1981 when educational competences were transferred to the Basque Country and Catalonia. Its competences have always been coordination and verification.
In 2018, the former Minister of Education, José Ignacio Wert, tried (through the LOMCE) that there were private schools that taught classes in Spanish, in response to the Generalitat’s refusal to guarantee a minimum of Spanish.
The Government filed an appeal of unconstitutionality that the high court partially estimated. “The direct intervention of the High Inspection in the schooling of students in the territory of the autonomous community of Catalonia clearly goes beyond the function of check, control or verification that we have considered appropriate to the constitutional framework, to penetrate fully, precisely, in the undue direct and exclusive assumption by the State of a self-executing competence of the autonomous community“, resolved the Constitutional
The text specifies that the High Inspection has surveillance powers, but “not a generic and indeterminate control that implies hierarchical dependency of the autonomous communities with respect to the State Administration”.
interprets it as a “verification or control instrument” which can lead to urging the action of the constitutionally established controls in relation to the autonomous communities, “but not to replace them, turning said High Inspection into a new and autonomous direct control mechanism”.
With this resolution in hand, the Ministry of Education reiterates that the High Inspection “will act within its powers and in accordance with the jurisprudence of the courts, to comply with the request for verification of compliance with the judgment issued by the TSJC”.
How to access
The High Inspection of each autonomous community is exercised by one or two people, who hold different positions, regardless of the size of the community: director of High Inspection area and High inspector. In addition, there is a minimum number of administrative or auxiliary personnel, which varies according to the community.
Access to these charges is made through a free appointment procedure of the delegate of the Government of each autonomous community, as a representative of the central Administration in the different autonomous communities.
The requirement that those elected must meet is only one: to be an official of the group A1, level 30, the max. It is not necessary to be a teacher and there is no public call or possibility of submitting applications.
It must be remembered that, although this High Inspection body depends on the Government, each autonomous community has educational inspection bodies which are coordinated from the Ministries of Education. According to sources consulted, there are no coordination channels between the High Inspection and the Educational Inspection of the different autonomous communities. The latter are regulated differently in each region.